Google has removed an app from its Google Play store to help users recognise and uninstall Chinese-origin applications. The California-based company Mountain View told that the application “Remove China Apps” was in breach of Google Play policy. The app – developed by Jaipur-based OneTouch AppLabs – clocked over 50 lakh downloads in just over two weeks of its launch before getting removed from Google Play. It is India ‘s second viral app to be pulled from Google Play in a matter of days. Google previously removed Mitron, a clone of TikTok. Here are all the top 10 points you need to know.
Google said the application “Remove China Apps” breached its Deceptive Behaviour policy. The policy high points various things that apps mentioned on Google Play can not do, but in the case of Remove China Apps story, one particular point is relevant. Google says apps that misinform users in trying to remove or disabling third-party apps or altering device settings or features are not allowed.
While the OneTouch AppLabs app claims to create for “educational purposes,” it capitalizes on the anti-China sentiment that currently prevails across the world. The country’s anti-China sentiment has been fuelled by the novel coronavirus pandemic, a border conflict between India and China and more. A recent survey showed that 67 per cent of Indians hold China accountable for COVID-19 spread.
Remove China Apps Downloaded by 50 Lakh Users
Remove China Apps makes its debut on May 17 at the Google Play store and download by more than 50 lakh times before going off as per Google Play info. It is unavailable to iPhone users on the Apple App Store. Android is the world’s prevalent mobile operating system, which uses by 95 per cent of cell phone users in the country as per StatCounter.
The app also led Google Play ‘s top free app list and remained there for at least two days. Following removal of the app, Zoom is back on top of Google Play’s free app list, following by Aarogya Setu, the government’s contact-tracing app.
Remove China Apps allowed users to identify and remove apps from their smartphones which were of Chinese origin. While it has been able to recognize common apps from Chinese developers, including the likes of TikTok, ShareIt, UC Browser, and CamScanner, it has not detected apps that come pre-installed from Chinese manufacturers on phones. Delete China Apps was free and relatively easy to use and had no ads in it.
OneTouch AppLabs Avoids the Media
The Android users merely had to install it from the Google Play store. Also, give appropriate permissions for using the app. After that, the users even had to tap Scan Now to scan their phone. The app would list all the apps of Chinese origin installed on the phone. The app would also provide a delete icon next to each app. It would uninstall the app from the user’s smartphone when tapped. The app claimed to use data from market research. It is to identify which applications were of Chinese origin.
OneTouch AppLabs stayed close about the app and did not respond to requests from the media.
Aside from India, the Remove China Apps application also gained momentum in Australia. The app had topped the Tools section in Google Play store according to data from App Annie. Still, most users of the app resided in India. Although the app removes from the Google Play store, it continues to operate. It is on phones that instal already.
Delete withdrawal of China Apps arrives shortly after Google removed the Mitron app from Google Play store. Mitron was a TikTok clone that also took advantage of anti-China feelings, and also saw download lakhs. Despite problems, the app still found traction by many users and went viral.
Also recently, TikTok, a popular short-video app, was in news, in part due to anti-China sentiment. TikTok establishes by Beijing headquartered company ByteDance. Scores of smartphone users around the country have brought the app to downrank to Google Play and Apple App Store. Particularly the ongoing YouTube vs TikTok debate on social media. Also, a video glorifying acid attacks from a TikTok user were, apart from anti-China feelings. It was the other main reasons for the 1-star rating flood.